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General Bible Study: Going Deeper (Interpretation)

General Bible study resources for regular use by students and laypersons.

Which commentary set is the best?

While a commentary set looks awfully nice on the shelf, it is not recommended that you rely only on the commentaries within a single set, especally those which are by a single author.  Instead, use a commentary survey to find the best commentary on a particular book.

Whole Bible Commentaries

Whole Bible commentaries provide less in-depth information and may only represent the work of one writer.  On the other hand, they are convenient.  The following commentary is recommended because it includes information from many scholars.

Resources for Interpretation

   This page serves as a guide to resources for deeper study.   The best way to study the Bible is by whole books.  Books about books of the bible are called commentaries.  Some commentaries are more advanced than others.  For the layperson, we recommend expository commentaries.  Look below for an explantion on the difference between expository and exegetical commentaries and examples of each.  Other kinds of information resources for deeper study are explained here as well. 

Introductions

   Introductions and surveys to the Bible introduce readers to the New Testament or Old Testament as a whole.  Thes books answer questions about the cultural background, historical background, nature, content, and overall message of either testament as a whole.

Expository Commentaries

   Expository commentaries are for everyone.  The purpose of an expository commentary is to explain the text without being as concerned with scholarly evidence.  Expository commentaries are often not very technical and rely on more techinical works for support.

Exegetical Commentaries

   Exegetical commentaries range in technicality.  The authors of these commentaries seek to show readers exactly why their conclusions are valid, digging deep into the text. Technical exegetical commentaries assume that the reader has some knowledge of biblical Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek and may include words or phrases in Latin or German.  Depending upon the scholarly debates surrounding a particular text, the author may need to engage in textual criticism to show what a passage is really all about.  Students may question the author's intent, whether it is to teach the word of God or disprove it!  Nevertheless, students must engage these texts as they advance in their theological education.

How to Read the Bible

These books will help you with biblical intereptation by teaching you various approaches to reading and interpreting the Bible.

Reading the Bible for all It's Worth lectures

   These lectures by Dr. Robert Rayburn, pastor of Faith Presbyterian Church in Tacoma, Washington, present a unique, though tried-and-true, way to read the Scriptures.

Books on specific persons

   These books focus on the life and teachings of specific people in the Bible, especially Jesus, Paul, and the apostles.  Use these resources to learn more about the major biblical authors.